We are very fortunate at Lowther Hall to have such a dedicated and professional staff who are united in their mission to provide the very best possible education for our girls. As we continue to experience a significant teacher shortage across the State, many students in other schools are trying to navigate their learning with staff who do not have training in the relevant subject area or, sometimes, without a teacher at all.

​This week, the Education Minister announced that from 2025, government primary schools will be mandated to use a systematic phonics program to teach reading. This is no great surprise as the research associated with the Science of Reading indicates that a program which uses direct, explicit instruction to teach students how to decode words according to the sounds they comprise, is the most effective way to ensure that all learners master the skills of reading for the long term. At Lowther Hall, we already use a systematic phonics based approach in the teaching of reading but we have recently undertaken a full review of this program and will be making some adjustments to it in the coming months.

​We are hearing a great deal in the media at the moment about student disengagement and student discipline. There is a growing concern across the country that students are behaving badly, lacking discipline and becoming increasingly disconnected from school.

​This week, students around the country from Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 have undertaken the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) testing, an annual nationwide measure through which parents/carers, teachers, schools, education authorities, governments and the broader community can determine whether or not young Australians are developing the literacy and numeracy skills that provide the critical foundation for other learning and for their productive and rewarding participation in the community.

​This week, I was delighted to host a guest at Lowther Hall, Mr Ollie Lovell an eminent Australian educationalist who visited the School to chat about teaching and learning and to plan some professional learning that our staff will undertake in the coming months.

​There is no joy like the first day of a school year and 2024 is off to a truly wonderful start. The sound of girls’ voices has again filled the buildings and grounds and it has been smiles and hugs a plenty as students have reconnected with each other.

​Hats off to Lowther Hall’s 2023 VCE students whose results reflect the combined efforts of girls and staff alike. The ATAR scores achieved by the Class of 2023 are impressive, with more than one third of the cohort being placed in the top 10% of the nation!

​I was interested to read in a recent edition of Company Director magazine, an article in which the new Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission, Sue Woodward, reflected (amongst other things) on the recent decline of volunteering across Australia.

​When I was in Canberra two weeks ago for the Anglican Schools Conference, a number of speakers addressed the theme of “awe and wonder” and the ways in which seeking experiences that evoke these responses in us can be positive for our mental health and for building our understanding of the world and each other.